BANBRIDGE Fourths were back in action after the Christmas break with a challenging away match against Campbellians at Campbell College.
Justin Glass returned to goals and with Neil Madeley being unavailable Roger Martin marshalled the defence alongside Gordy Brown, Sam Green and Robbie Scott.
The match began at a high tempo with the young Belfast side having most of the early possession. The home side were creating lots of chances with an early shot in front of goal flashed over the bar, however a few minutes later a ball was thumped into the Banbridge D deflecting of a stick into the bottom corner of the net.
Bann began to settle with better passing play from the back to the midfield with Johnny Shannon and Dave Smyth maintaining the possession in the middle of the pitch.
Bann equalised when a ball into the circle was deflected by Matthew Clarke to the back post where Gareth Matthew was left with the easy task of finishing into an open net.
Banbridge really turned on the pressure now and promptly took the lead when a mistake from a Campbell defender at the half way line allowed Mark Clydesdale to win the ball. He ran towards the circle darting past several defenders and when a path opened up to the edge of the circle, he finished with a strong shot high into the net.
After the break Campbell tried to force an equaliser but the Bann defence held out well with good play from Sam Green and Roger Martin in the centre. Even though the home team created a number of chances, they found Justin Glass in terrific form and it was in fact Banbridge who grabbed the games fourth goal and extended their lead. Good play by Peter Bennington down Bann’s left hand side allowed Robbie Scott to smash a dangerous ball into the Campbell D, which deflected off the home goalkeeper’s pads and into the net.
The Campbell side came back at Banbridge with their fast midfielders and forwards managing to make some dangerous runs into the circle. After another one of these pressing moves, a ball was smashed into the Bann circle and deflected off a defender’s stick into the back of the net for another own goal.
Things were getting tense now as there was only one goal in it with 10 minutes left to play. Campbell were getting closer and closer to finding another goal, but the Bann defence continued to clear their lines and start some promising forward moves. Joe McKnight then won the ball in midfield and threw an overhead ball to Gary Dean who sprinted to the circle. His shot was kept out of the net however it bounced out to Peter McKnight who hit a mid-air reverse which found its way into the goal. This was Peter’s first senior goal and was just reward after a string of impressive performances.
Impressive for the Fourths were Justin Glass who is improving all the time in goal with Robbie Scott and Sam Green gaining more experience in Senior hockey. Mark Clydesdale scored a fantastic goal and Peter McKnight showed that he is comfortable playing in Junior Three.
Special thanks to Jordan Dermott and Gordy Brown who umpired a half each in difficult circumstances.